Black Label: Bright vests should be worn by politicians and officials, not by journalists
After the incident, which occurred during an opposition campaign "Arise, Ukraine!" on May 18 in Kyiv, the authorities and the police in various parts of the country began giving out bright vests to reporters. There once was in the past the regime that forced members of certain nationalities to wear labels on clothing.
Brief background: after beating of journalists Olga Snitsarchuk and Vlad Sodel by the "anti-fascists", local government authorities and law enforcement agencies began giving out bright vests to media representatives. They were given out at opposition rallies in Donetsk, Khmelnytsky and Kyiv. On June 4, the Acting Head of the Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Serhiy Burlakov said that "the vests will have a certain color and the words "Press" on them. Only then, during the event it will be clear that a person is a media representative." On June 9, Inna Pronnyk, a spokesman for the Khmelnitsky police, declared in a similar vein: "We can give out safety vests to journalists so that you could be recognized from a distance. This measure was proved to be effective in Donetsk, where during a similar political events journalists were wearing vests."
In Odesa, police colonel Serhiy Tretyakov at the presentation of vests to the press repeated the same argument: "It will allow journalists to be more conspicuous for the police and participants of events, and will allow police officers, if necessary, to take additional precautions to protect journalists." It is disheartening that journalists willingly accept and wear those vests.
Although it would be a matter of honor to refuse from such "markers". Because it would mean that other peoples, so to speak mere mortals, can be beaten and provoked, while reporters are protected by the police and vests. It is not even about the fact that a professional reporter would not even want to wear a badge, because it would not allow him or her to mingle in the crowd and get information directly from the epicenter of events.
It's about the fact that any marks, ribbons, patches, badges, insignia, vests are elements of caste division of society. Accreditation and badges are nedeed for special protocol events with limited access, although even the meeting of the City Council or Parliament should be open for citizens.
The officials also have their own "markers" - they can be recognized by ostrich leather shoes, special license plates, entourage of bodyguards. Now journalists are also offered to stand out from the crowd, to get the privilege to wear vests, and have special protection. I suspect they even sent special instructions to regional "antifascist sports clubs" - do not touch people wearing vests because they are the journalists!
Instead, in the Polish segment of Facebook a completely different idea has become quite popular - our neighbors massively spread the banner with the idea of putting bright vests on MPs and other officials. The vest should have the inscription: "I live off the taxpayers." I'd like to see a minister, a deputy, a head of a passport office or even a housing office walking the streets, taking the subway or standing at the rally in such vest. They would never wear such vest, so why do journalists agree to do it?
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